Master of Music in Composition

Composition Area Coordinator

Dr. Pablo FurmanDr. Pablo Furman
Associate Director; Composition Area Coordinator; Keyboard Area Coordinator
MUS 202

General Description

The Master of Music in Composition is designed for the student with a career goal as a professional composer and teacher, and as preparation for further advanced study. Our program is a two-year, 30-unit program, focusing on individual composition instruction, seminar in music theory, in conjunction with the important academic components of seminars in music research and music history. The degree culminates with the Thesis, an original composition.

Additional information is available in the School of Music & Dance Office and at the department website.

Admission Requirements

The School of Music and Dance graduate program requires applicants to have a bachelor's degree in Music from a regionally accredited institution and to be in good academic standing at the last college or university attended. In rare circumstances, students with degrees in non-music areas who demonstrate composition and music knowledge skills equivalent to an
undergraduate Music degree and artistic potential for graduate study in Music may be admitted to the program. The School of Music and Dance requires a minimum GPA of 3.00 in the last 60 units of undergraduate coursework. All required transcripts and supporting documents should be sent directly to the university.

The School of Music and Dance does not require the GRE (Graduate Record Exam).

For students applying from a country where the official language is not English:

You are required to submit a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), PTE (Pearson Test of English), or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score. The minimum entrance score for the TOEFL is 590 (paper based), 243 (computer based), or 96 (internet based), with a score of 5 in the Writing Section. The minimum score for the PTE is 68; for and the IELTS, the minimum score is 7.0. All test scores must be fewer than 2 years old. Test scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service office (institution code 4687), Pearson Office, or IELTS office directly to SJSU.

In addition to all other university requirements, candidates for the Composition program are accepted based on successfully fulfilling the following requirements.

Portfolio and Interview

  • Submit portfolio (upload to Google Drive or similar and send link to Dr. Pablo E. Furman):
    • Minimum of three (3) works for different instrument combinations, including electro-acoustic works.
      • Scores (PDF format)
      • Audio recordings (live performances recommended and will be given priority; audio from MIDI files may be used as alternative)
  • After the portfolio review (if approved), successful entrance exams and receipt of recommendation letters, candidates may be invited for an interview with composition faculty.

Recommendation Letters

Send three letters of recommendation from previous composition instructors to the Graduate Area Coordinator, Dr. Gordon Haramaki.

Entrance Exam

Candidates have to pass with a minimum of 70% accuracy a basic test on each of the following subjects:

  • Dictation
  • Form & Analysis
  • Counterpoint
  • Orchestration
  • Music History

For more information, contact Dr. Pablo E. Furman.